A Samsung Galaxy S9 on some grass with the Visible logo on the display.

Verizon is a great carrier if you want a leading network and almost any phone you can imagine. However, you’ll have to sacrifice your wallet to afford Big Red. Instead, you might be ready to give Visible, a low-cost Verizon service, a try. It’s not a true MVNO, but it’s not exactly Verizon, either. Don’t worry, it’s not as confusing as it sounds.

See also: The best Visible deals

Visible only offers one plan — yes, just one — so we’ll walk you through the nitty-gritty as well as a few of the best phones available. The carrier’s unique status may sound complicated, but the most important thing to know is it’s a great way to save some money. Ready to try Verizon’s new alternative? Let’s dive in.

Visible at a glance

There’s not much to say when it comes to Visible’s history. The carrier has only been around for a few years, and it’s wholly owned by Verizon and runs on Verizon’s network. You can check out the map of Visible’s coverage right here.

Visible isn’t easy to track down at the Better Business Bureau, either. However, the page we did track down doesn’t have the kindest things to say about Verizon’s prepaid pal. It carries a B-minus rating and a one-and-a-half-star average review from customers. As a small but growing carrier, there have been 389 complaints in the last three years and 219 in the past 12 months. In fairness, every carrier seems to have poor ratings. When things go wrong, customers complain. When things go right, we usually stay silent.

The carrier has made a serious push in early 2021, with a bevy of new perks at your fingertips. You can now tap into Verizon’s 5G service, call your friends in Mexico, Canada, and more, and bring as many people into Party Pay as you want. Visible will also drop your bill to just $5 for one month when referring a friend or family member. You can use the Bring a Friend perk up to 12 times per year, and any friend you bring will pay just $5 for their first month as well.

For what it’s worth, several members of our team have used and recommend Visible. It has a few quirks, but it’s mostly a great deal. 

The Plan

Well, we can keep this section pretty short and sweet because there’s only one plan to sign up for. It’s easiest to organize into a table, though, so check out the fast facts right here:

Visible
Cost
$40 per month
As low as $25 with Party Pay
Talk and Text
Unlimited
Data
Unlimited
Hotspot
Unlimited, capped at 200mbps with 5G
Streaming
Standard Definition (480p)
Customer Service
Virtual, no physical stores

Now that you’ve got the basics, what makes Verizon’s Visible plan so good? You not only get unlimited talk and text, but you also get unlimited data that now features Verizon’s powerful 5G network. The only downside is that Visible caps its speeds at 200mbps, at least according to the carrier agreement. In reality, many users don’t run into throttling unless they are in more congested areas. Still, it’s something to be aware of. 

The plan costs just $40 per month for a single line, but Party Pay can cut your bill down to $25 per month if you go in with friends. You used to be limited to just four users on a Party Pay plan, but now you can let everyone in on the fun. Each of you — as many of you as you want — pays individually, and one late payer doesn’t impact the others, but you’ll all save the same amount of money.

Visible even launched a new Community forum where you can ask for tips and find people to join your Party Pay plan. It’s the perfect way to save some money if you don’t have any friends or family members looking to join Visible.

You can stream video to your heart’s content at 480p standard definition, and you can access customer service any time and any place too. Keep in mind this is truly unlimited data, with our very own Andrew Grush regularly pushing well past 20GB a month and with months that have gone over 50GB. Visible has also finally launched international calling to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Highlights:

  • One plan, one rate
  • Everything is unlimited

Best for:

  • Anyone who wants Verizon’s network but doesn’t want Verizon’s prices

Visible vs the competition

Metro by T Mobile logo on phone stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Since Visible isn’t really an MVNO, it makes sense to compare it to other non-MVNO competitors. To that end, we’ve set it head-to-head with Metro by T-Mobile and Cricket Wireless. Each is wholly owned by another one of the Big Three, and they share similar structures. Google Fi makes the cut because even though it’s an MVNO, it relies on T-Mobile and US Cellular for service and is a unique hybrid option.

You can find all of our prepaid favorites on the list of the Best prepaid and no-contract plans in the US as well. Check out the table for more details:

Metro by T-Mobile Better UnlimitedVisibleCricket Wireless Cricket MoreGoogle Fi Unlimited
Cost
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$120 for three lines
$120 for four lines
Visible:
$40 per line
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$130 for four lines
Google Fi Unlimited:
$70 for one line
$60 for two lines
$50 for three lines
$45 for four lines
Talk and Text
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
Unlimited
Visible:
Unlimited
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
Unlimited
Google Fi Unlimited:
Unlimited
Data
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
Unlimited up to 35GB
Visible:
Unlimited
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
Unlimited
Google Fi Unlimited:
Unlimited up to 22GB 4G LTE
Host Network
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
T-Mobile
Visible:
Verizon
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
AT&T
Google Fi Unlimited:
T-Mobile
US Cellular
International
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
Available
Visible:
Not Available
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
Mexico and Canada usage up to 50%
Texting to 37 countries
Google Fi Unlimited:
Free calls to over 50 countries
Free texts and data abroad
Extras
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
100GB Google One storage
Amazon Prime
15GB Mobile hotspot
Visible:
Mobile hotspot
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
Standard Definition streaming
15GB Mobile hotspot
Google Fi Unlimited:
Full-speed hotspot
Google One membership

Metro by T-Mobile

Although Metro is technically a separate carrier, it’s wholly owned by T-Mobile and acts as an MVNO on the network. That means it can offer its own unique set of plans with varying talk, text, and data at great rates.

The carrier’s unlimited plans include 100GB of Google One cloud storage, and the $60 plan comes with an Amazon Prime membership. Metro’s plans don’t include international service at the base price, but you can add talk and text to hundreds of countries for a price.

Highlights:

  • 10GB 4G LTE data from $40 per month
  • Hotspot data included on unlimited plans
  • 100GB Google One storage with unlimited plans

Google Fi

A single carrier doesn’t own Google Fi, and that’s good news for you regarding service. The hybrid MVNO uses T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular towers to switch to the best signal available constantly. Fi supports an absolutely massive list of phones, covering options from many major US manufacturers and Huawei and even Red Hydrogen.

As for the plan, Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus is a great international option. You can call over 50 countries and territories for free, and contact with other areas can start at just one penny. Each line gets unlimited data up to 22GB, a Google One membership, and full-speed hotspot tethering. If you plan to stay local to the United States, you can save $10 per month on the Simply Unlimited plan.

Highlights:

  • Impressive phone support
  • Plenty of international connection
  • Google One membership included

Cricket Wireless

Cricket’s most expensive option, the Cricket More plan, offers the best Cricket has to offer along with 15GB of a monthly hotspot. You can text 37 other countries, and you can even use your service in Canada or Mexico as long as it’s less than 50% of your overall usage.

Many of the best Cricket features are available as add-ons, so it’s easy to run your bill up by a few bucks. However, that’s really the secret to unlocking Cricket’s full potential. Options include more hotspot data, better international access, and extra data on select plans.

Highlights:

  • Customizable service with add-ons
  • 15GB of hotspot included

Visible alternatives that run on the same network

Several other MVNOs rely on the same Big Red network, though they don’t have the same close relationship. Check out the table below for our favorite options:

US MobileRed PocketPagePlusTotal Wireless
Cost
US Mobile:
Build your own with talk, text, and data for as little as $5 per month
Unlimited from $40 per month
Red Pocket:
Limited plans as low as $10 per month
Unlimited plans for $60 per month
PagePlus:
Limited plans as low as $12 per month
Unlimited plans for $55 per month
Total Wireless:
1 line starts at $23.70 for 1GB 4G LTE data
1 line up to $47.50 for 25GB 4G LTE data
Talk & Text
US Mobile:
Starts at 75 minutes for $2
Starts at 50 texts for $1.50
Red Pocket:
$10 plan includes 500 texts and 500 minutes
Plans above $15 include unlimited talk and text
PagePlus:
500 minutes talk and 500 texts for $12
Unlimited for all other plans
Total Wireless:
Unlimited
Data
US Mobile:
Starts at 50MB for $1.50
Red Pocket:
Starts at 500MB for $10
Unlimited data for $60
PagePlus:
100MB for $12
3GB 4G LTE for $30
8GB 4G LTE for $40
Unlimited for $55
Total Wireless:
up to 25GB high-speed data
Hotspot
US Mobile:
Add 10GB to the Unlimited All plan for $5
Red Pocket:
Hotspot available
PagePlus:
Not available
Total Wireless:
Up to 10GB on plans above $50
International
US Mobile:
Up to 10GB for Unlimited plans
Red Pocket:
Free calls to 80 countries
PagePlus:
Plans above $12 include $10 international calling card
Total Wireless:
$10 global calling card available
Extras
US Mobile:
Pick your subscription perks with 2, 3, and 4 line plans
5G access available
Red Pocket:
Free SIM card
PagePlus:
Video streams at DVD quality
Total Wireless:
Earn rewards points that can be used to pay for service

US Mobile

US Mobile is a unique Verizon MVNO in that you can build your plan just how you like it. In fact, everyone in your entire family can customize a plan. You pick your talk, text, and data, and US Mobile gives you a price. There’s even a brand-new unlimited plan that costs just $40 per month for the first line. The unlimited plan offers your choice of subscription services for free with 2, 3, and 4 line plans.

Red Pocket

You may not be as familiar with Red Pocket, but it’s an effective way to save money, thanks to its variety of plans. There are plenty of limited service options to choose from, all the way up to unlimited access. Red Pocket actually runs on all of the Big Three networks, but you’ll lock into a carrier when you sign up.

PagePlus

PagePlus is similar to Red Pocket, with varying tiers of limited and unlimited service. The pricing structure is about the same, but PagePlus warns on its website about using more than 60GB of data per month. You can also opt for pay-as-you-go minutes, data add-on cards, and international add-on cards.

Total Wireless

Total Wireless has some single-line and family plans, and each includes unlimited talk and text. The data is unlimited as well, though you have to pay more for unlimited high-speed access. Total’s basic unlimited plans offer just 1GB of high-speed data before you fall back down to 2G speeds.

What phones can you use?

Moto G Power 2021 camera macro
David Imel / Android Authority

Thanks to its Verizon affiliation, Visible has an impressive list of the latest and greatest phones on the market. You can’t choose from all of Big Red’s devices, but the latest Galaxy S21 family is a top option. Visible offers Apple’s iPhone 12 family and the SE, but the real value is budget-friendly devices. To make adding a phone even easier, Visible finally supports eSIM activations. Right now, the feature is limited to Apple’s iPhones, but Android support should be right around the corner.

If you’re looking to save some money, the Samsung Galaxy A21 and Moto G Power can each be had for less than $300. Free is a great price, too, and you can get the ZTE Blade A7 Prime for nothing when you switch. Of course, if you have a Sprint or Verizon device already, then you can bring your device along, no sweat. Visible is a CDMA carrier, which means that GSM options like AT&T and T-Mobile won’t work quite as well.

See also: The best phone deals

Band support is a key component of bringing a device, whether you have a GSM or CDMA phone. Visible relies on the same bands as Verizon, so Big Red will have to approve any device you plan to bring over. Check the table below for details:

FrequencyBandNetwork Supported
Frequency:
1900MHz
Band:
2
Network Supported:
2G
3G
4G LTE
Frequency:
1700MHz/2100MHz
Band:
4
66
Network Supported:
3G and 4G LTE
4G LTE
Frequency:
850MHz
Band:
5
Network Supported:
2G
3G
4G LTE
Frequency:
700MHz
Band:
13
Network Supported:
4G LTE

Frequently asked questions

Q: Who owns Visible?
A: Visible is wholly owned and run by Verizon Wireless. 

Q: Does Visible have a physical store presence?
A: No, Visible is different from other carriers and even most MVNOs. There’s no physical presence, and the only way to sign up is via the official Visible app.

Q: Does Visible have a customer service or contact number?
A: Again, because of its unique nature — no. All troubleshooting and customer service is done online via the app or Visible’s website.